21st July, 2011
An Ikeja High Court Judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, to arrest Fidelis Anosike and Noel Anosike, both directors of Folio Communications Limited , owners of Daily Times Nigeria Limited.
The order follows their failure to appear before his court to face the N1.7 billion criminal charges brought against them.
Justice Abiru also ordered the police boss to produce the two brothers before the court at its next sitting on 28 September, 2011.
The two brothers are facing a 40-count charge of stealing and fraudulent acquisition preferred against them by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
They were alleged to have stolen over N1.7 billion worth of properties belonging to Daily Times which they had purchased on 14 March, 2007.
The accused persons are also facing a 21-count charge for conspiring to illegally siphon several billions of naira from the coffers of the defunct newspaper group before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
According to the fresh charges, the Anosike brothers and their company, Folio Communications Limited, were alleged to have made false representation to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
The Prosecution alleged that they had fraudulently misled the BPE that they had means to acquire majority shares of Daily Times.
The accused persons were alleged to have mortgaged the assets of the newspaper company and even sold some of the properties to realise the acquisition of the said shares.
Among other charges, it was alleged that the accused persons stole the sum of N500 million being proceeds of the sale of DTN’s 60 per cent stake in Naira Properties Ltd, owners of Nigeria Stock Exchange building, Lagos.
They were also alleged to have fraudulently collected over N190 million as rents on various properties belonging to the company leased out to other users across Lagos.
When the matter came up for hearing, the Prosecutor, Mr Ernest Ezebilo told the court that the proof of evidence had been served on the Anosikes who failed to appear in court for their arraignment.
Ezebilo who is from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) asked the court to issue the bench warrant on the accused persons so that they could be properly arraigned.
Justice Abiru granted the order as prayed.
By Henry Ojelu